Moving America Forward

How One Woman Is Making Holistic Medicine Affordable

June 23, 2014
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How One Woman Is Making Holistic Medicine Affordable
Angela Angel is working to make alternative treatment like yoga more available to lower income populations. Getty Images
Angela Angel answers the prayers of those suffering from high blood pressure, aching bodies, and even depression.

For those who swear by natural remedies like acupuncture and massage therapy over traditional medicine and prescription drugs, these alternative treatments are a godsend.

But when insurance companies refuse to cover non-traditional practices, low-income Americans are unable to pay the high prices of these services — making them inaccessible.

And that’s where Angela Angel comes in. As the co-founder of the Healing Clinic Collective in Oakland, California, she’s working to make holistic healthcare affordable by inviting women to take advantage of special clinics that offer a day’s worth of free services, including acupuncture, massage therapy, and nutritional counseling.

Some women who took part in the event are now regular customers that receive these services at discounted rates.

“A lot of women that were treated [in the past clinic events] are now real clients,” Angel told Yes! Magazine.

But providing customers with free and discounted services is not all Angel does for her community. She helps holistic medicine practitioners find more clients, too.

“They [practitioners] want to diversity their clientele base,” Angel said. “So we helped connect them to the community because sometimes when you’re working as an acupuncturist … you’re not usually reaching out to populations in East Oakland.”

Angel’s next women’s clinic will be held this summer, and she is also planning a men’s clinic this fall and a children’s clinic by the end of this year.

Making holistic medicine affordable isn’t just a thing in Oakland. The Third Root Community Health Center in Brooklyn, New York provides acupuncturists, herbalists, and Reiki services to low-income residents, namely community organizers and activists who are often overworked and lack the resources for holistic practices.

In Seattle, the Samarya Center is providing physical therapy to different communities using the funds they receive from their yoga studio. The center provides free yoga classes for ill patients at Seattle’s Bailey-Boushay House, for patients with chronic pain at the Pike Place Medical Clinic, and for veterans and their families at the city’s VA hospital.

Such outreach projects by business owners and community organizations can help change the way Americans seek remedies. Which is a good thing, since, as Yes! Magazine notes, such alternative approaches lead to fewer ailments, doctor’s visits, and medication in the patient’s future.

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